Gather your teams and get your analytics and data science tools, skills, and mindsets ready!  Master Modeler Competition 2024 starts January and runs through March 22, 2024.


This multilevel, multidisciplinary data science competition for BOTH academics and practitioners is intended to fight addiction, fuel recovery, and encourage healthy family lives.

Master Modeler Competition 2024 requires the application of the INFORMS Certified Analytics Professional framework and domains for problem solving to provide Davis Direction Foundation and other related nonprofits meaningful insights, models, and solutions to make a societal impact.

This competition includes two phases, where Round 1 teams of 2-4 submit a video of their Proposed Approach to solve the stated business / community problem, walking through how they would develop, run, and apply their proposed data science solutions. Teams advancing to the Finalist Round will have access to the identified data and will develop model/s using authorized tools of their choice to help answer the questions from our data sponsor / nonprofit clients.

Presentation are planned as a Technology Association of Georgia Data Science & AI Society event for March 22nd from 9 AM – 3:30 PM EST in the Atlanta area.

The first place Academic and Practitioner teams are awarded prize money from INFORMS Analytics Society, as well as a speaking spot for up to four total competitors (two per team) at 2024 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in April.

Community / Business Problem and Questions to Solve

The data and business problems to solve are via Davis Direction Foundation and are intended to help the organization fight addiction and fuel recovery. The problem to solve is as follows:


Improve our understanding of donors, their motivations, and donation patterns across various events, initiatives, and giving platforms. Ultimately, advise DDF on how to optimize their content creation, improve messaging, target the best audiences, and develop donation-generating programs to enhance our position as a high priority place for the community to financially support. Additional details will be sent via email.


Answering the community problem is an important part of the assessment and teams should focus on answering the problem and helping solve the challenge more than developing an innovative approach unless the more complex, innovative insights and solution improves the ability to help the organization and support solving the business problem.

Competitor Tracks and Team

1) Academic track: two to four team members from academic institutions, masters or higher, currently enrolled in a degree seeking program and with an .edu email address.

2) Practitioner track: two to four team members from industry; can include those in academia; can come from various companies (teams can be mixed).

Individuals not currently enrolled in a degree seeking program or working in an applied or research focused paid manner should use their most recent affiliation to determine the applicable track between academic or practitioner. Faculty from academic institutions would fall into the practitioner track. Other designations for circumstances or any uncertainty may be made at the discretion of the competition administrators.

Team members may not change membership (aside from dropping members) from Round 1 to Finalist Round. Note that the prize money distribution will be made based on the team members listed on the final submissions.


INFORMS Analytics Society is sponsoring the following prizes:

  • Prize Money –
    1. First place: $4k, possibly an additional $2k if win over the other track, for the team
    2. Runner up: $2k for the team
  • Speaking Spot at INFORMS–
    1. Winning teams (first place for both tracks) earns a speaking spot at 2024 INFORMS Business Analytics Conference in April
    2. Travel stipends provided depending on the number of first place individuals traveling, up to $4,000 total for all winners
  • Social Media Posts –
    1. Mention by Technology Association of Georgia’s Data Science & AI Society on social media
    2. Mention by INFORMS Analytics Society on social media, email, and/or other platform


Required data to leverage for the finalist round of the competition will originate from the following sources:

Donation histories, types, methods, intended programs, frequencies, as well as details about donor profiles, and other information related to contributions made to support the mission of Davis Direction Foundation to fight addiction and fuel recovery while serving as a role model in our communities to become a national resource for opioid/heroin addiction awareness and change.

Additional details will be provided via email.

Teams can add additional open source, publicly available data to augment their analysis to help improve their model and more fully answer the community / business question and provide meaningful results to the data sponsor.


Assessment Rubric and Judges

Teams for both Round 1 – Proposed Approach, and Round 2 – Finalists will receive assessment from judges with expertise in analytics, data, data science, and the subject matter expertise including addiction and recovery. The assessment rubric includes (but is not limited to) the following dimensions:

  • Problem Definition
  • Solving the business / community question
  • Innovative solution
  • Practical application / ability to operationalize the resulting model
  • Communicating the story
  • Model Development
  • Choice of Analytics Method
  • Best Practices
  • Data Management

Framework and Ethical Standards

Competitors are required to adhere to the Code of Ethics as outlined by INFORMS Certified Analytics Professional designation:

Also, teams are expected to follow the INFORMS Certified Analytics Professional framework / domains toward solving the community / business problem:

While application of the model in a practical environment is not possible during this competition, teams should discuss how this would work and methods for operationalizing their model to help the organization and support decision-making.

Key Dates

  • January 16, 2024: Registration available – competition kick off
  • February 22, 2024: Submissions for Round 1 – Proposed Approach due by midnight
  • February 26, 2024: Finalist teams announced via email
  • February 29, 2024, 4:30 PM – 6 PM: Data walk through with nonprofit sponsor, review of community / business questions to solve, data access provided
  • March 21, 2024: Submissions for Finalist Round – Final Results due by midnight via email
  • March 22, 2024: Final presentations at Microsoft Atlantic Yards, 9 AM – 11:30 AM Academic Track / 12:30 – 3:00 PM Practitioner Track, final winners announced by 3:30 PM.

Communication Channel

The official communication channel throughout the competition will include email addresses provided during the submission process for teams and individuals, and the following TAG Data Science & Analytics Society page for other announcements, details, and general communication.

Register for the competition by filling out this form:

Thank you for your consideration to compete in Master Modeler Competition 2024. Through your participation, you’re helping fight addiction and fuel recovery, while embracing the ability to learn new skills, gain mentors, improve data storytelling, build a resume, and possibly win prizes!

Let’s use data to make a difference together.